Page images

the other.
The king and duke
were positive, the prince resolute,
and at last he said, that his allies
who were like to have hard terms of
the peace as things then stood, would
be apt to believe that he had made
this match at their cost, and for
his part he would never sell his
honour for a wife. After the mat
ter was nearly broken off, "well,
said Charles (who was a shrewd
judge of men and manners) I never
yet was deceived in judging of a
man's honesty by his looks, and
if I am not deceived in the prince's
face, he is the honestest man in the
world, and I will trust him, and he
shall have his wife." Mary form-
ed the most affectionate and faith-
ful wife that the history of prin-
ces has recorded, loving William
with her whole heart and soul, her
best judgement, and her warmest
affectious. Her letters while re-
gent, to her husband, on the con
tinent, are filled with proofs of her
warm attachment, of her wisdom
and steadiness as became the
wife of such a man and of the
most amiable tenderness and anxie-
ty as a woman.

though a pensioner of France (such a shameful sight the world never saw as a king of England kept in pay throughout his whole 1 eign, by another monarch!) yet were his manners more popular than the morals of the honest William. I am not however directing my attention to the politics of their reigns, but merely to the personal character of these sovereigns, on which indeed the public happiness or misery, the weal or woe of the empire most materially depend, and with this view I shall give the words of an historian, little read, which I think graphi cally describe William and Charles. "A silence and reserve bordering upon sullenness, adhered to him (William) in the more retired scenes of life, and seemed to indicate not only a distaste for scciety, but a distrust of mankind.-He was greatly deficient in the common forms of attention. His favours lost much of their value by the coldness of the manner with which he conferred them. His warm and steady attachment to a few friends, demonstrated that he was not destitude of private friendship. He was occasionally surprised into indulgence of mirth and humour, which shewed that he was not insensible to the relaxation of social amusement. But the infirmities of his constitution, the depression of his early situation, a fatal experience of deceitfulness, and treachery, derived from his political intercourse with mankind, the seriousness and weight of those objects which continually pressed down his mind controuled a propensity, however strong, to confidence, aflability and pleasantry, and introduced habits of constraint and gravity, which draw a veil over the attractions of virtue, and frequently con tribute more than vicious affections, to render character unpopular.

When William came to the throne of England, this worthy man, and excellent prince was so tormented with the contentions of parties, and intrigues of factions, that he often expressed a wish of returning to his native country. He was said to be king of Holland, and Stadtholder of England. Although by nature and education he was the friend of toleration, he was made by his ministers an unwilling instrument of persecution, in Ireland, and of cruelty in Scotland, in both instances probably without the least knowledge, on his part, of the nature of the private injury, in the one case, or of national injustice in the other. The manners of Charles were more agreeable to his people,

In the character of Charles 2d, we are struck with a brilliancy of wit, and gracefulness of manners, destitute of any one ingredient of principle or virtue, with politeness, affability, gaiety, good-humour, every thing that captivates imagination, or gives delight at the mo


In the character of William, we turn our eyes to sterling merit, nak ed and unadorned; to stern integrity, incorruptible patriotism, undaunted magnanimity, unshaken fidelity, but no splendid dress, or gaudy trapping to arrest the attention of the superficial observer, A deliberate effort of the understanding is necessary to perceive and estimate. its merits. Charles, with all his vices, was beloved while he lived, and lamented when he died. William, with all his virtues, respected abroad, respected by posterity, never received from his subjects and cotemporaries at home, the tribute of affection and praise, adequate to the merit of his virtues, and the importance of his services."


I cannot forbear mentioning one or two more characteristic expressions of this great and good man.— When lord Basil Hamilton behaved at the council in the most violent way, saying, "he had a right to be heard, and would be heard." This young man, said the mild and magnanimous king, is too bold, IF ANY MAN CAN BE TOO BOLD IN HIS COUN TRY'S CAUSE." When William, at the battle of Aughrim, asked count Hamilton, who had just then been taken prisoner, and who had once before broken his parole, whether he thought the enemy would make a stand? Upon my honour, said Hamilton, I believe they will. Your honour! your honour! replied the king, as he galloped away. The temple of honour, in this monarch's

mind, was only to be found by pas sing through the temple of virtue. At the close of his life, when his limbs were mnch swollen with the dropsy, Dr. Radcliffe was called into consultation, and being one of those physicians who pushed his fortune by a certain bluntness of manner, he coarsely exclaimed, that he would not have his majesty's two legs, for his three kingdoms. William looked at hin sternly: "What, sir, do you mean to frighten me "No, sir," answered Radcliffe, but you will allow me to be afraid." The king never afterwards would suffer him in his presence.

Sir William Temple relates, that after a long conference he had with that insincere and treacherous monarch Charles the 2d, in which the honest counsellor laid before him what were his true interests in regard to religion and governinent, and ended with telling him what Gourville had once said to him, viz. "that a king of England who will be the man of his people, is the greatest king in the world, but if he will be any thing more, by G--d, he will become nothing at all."The king, says he, heard me throughout attentively, though at first impatiently, yet, at last, he said, I had reason in all, and so had Gourville; and laying his hand upon mine, he added," and I will be the man of my people." While all this time, and after this time, he continued to be the mean suppliant and pensioner of France. Did ever there appear to mankind such a contrast of honesty and hypocrisy, as the lives of these two monarchs have presented?

The liberties of Europe are much more endangered at present, than in the days of Louis the 14th, and call, with more urgent voice, for the

objectionable, as increasing the overgrown influence and patronage of the crown, and teaching an important class in society, to look more to the governors than to the people for support. Let the comparative degrees of patriotism existing among the dissenting priesthood in 1782, and in the period since the augmentation, answer the question, as to the favourable or unfavourable influence on general liberty of this measure, introduced by the wily


ING CLERGY, CALLED THE REGIUM politician into the dissenting church, as a golden badge of subjection. The writer of the late remarks in


QUERY.-Can the author of the the retrospect, leaves to others bet

ter qualified from local knowledge to answer as to the consistency of stitution of the Presbyterian discipthe Regium Donum with the con


Courageous perseverance, and unbiassed integrity of a William. May God grant, whether it pleases his divine providence that the Prince of Wales be regent, or be king of Great Britain, he may live and die




For the Belfast Monthly Magazine.

frequent and severe attacks upon dissenting ministers, by pointing out a single condition in the grant of the Regium Donum, that encroaches upon the discipline, the doctrine, or the rights of the dissenting




THE writer who on some late occasions, has in the political retrospect referred to the Regium Donum made his remarks as a politis cian, without referrence to discipline or doctrine of any church. He considers the augmentation of allowance to dissenting ministers, which took place under the auspices of Lord Castlereagh, as an ime pices of Lord Castlereagh, as an improper addition to the burdens of the people, fraught with all the evils of an establishment on a subordinate plan. Of this encreased burden, the members of the established church may have no just ground to complain, as they are in so much greater a degree partakers of unequal benefits. But the large portion of the population of Ireland, who are not included in either class, have plain of the burden. To the lovers of freedom the measure is highly

reason to com


The author of the Retrospect having done with Simplex, I would now take the liberty of observing, that the latter seems to be a member of guise of a presbyterian, who comes the established church, under the forward in the cause of one of those and variety of which in this kingminor establishments, the number dom it may soon not be an easy matter to enumerate. What makes this supposition the more probable, is the tone of his question, which implies that "no condition in the late grants of Regium Donum to different bodies of dissenters in Ireland, encroaches on the discipline, doctrine, No consistent presbyterian would or rights of the presbyterian church." have asked this question; for however some of them may attempt to justify the measure as a matter of necessity, owing to the inadequate stipend paid by many congregations, no one can seriously contend, that it is agreeable to presbyterian

[ocr errors]

principles. Some of the essentials of a presbyterian church I have understood to be, parity of rank amongst the pastors, and an unbiassed choice of their pastors or ministers by the people. The first of these is surely encroached upon, when a body of presbyterian ministers accede to a scheme of classification proposed by government, whereby half of them receive, out of the public purse, a hundred pounds per annum, and half of them only fifty. I know that government does not pretend to give to an individual in the synod two votes when deciding on business brought before them; but I can perceive no difference betwixt the clergymen of the synod standing in the above predicament, and the members of the lower house of convocation in the established church, which is composed of clergymen of different ranks, denominations and emoluments, upon an equality as to votes, but possessing variety of influence derived from those other circumstances.

agreement arise between a congre gation and their pastor, the latter may retire upon his sinecure; while the former long unaccustomed to make due provision for their spiritual instruction, may feel both careless and incapable of procuring another, and thus in a christian country be deprived for a time of the preaching of the gospel.

That this measure also renders those presbyterian clergymen affected by it more independent of their congregations than formerly, will hardly be disputed; and if this is agreeable either to the principles they profess, or the constitution of their church, or indeed ought to be desired by any conscientious minister of that persuasion, I have totally mistaken the nature, and misapprehended the spirit of presbyterianism. Whenthe people find that government has taken upon itself the payment of their clergymen, and that instead of a voluntary stipend, the chief part of their support arises from an involuntary tax, they will be apt to slacken still more in their contributions, until the government stipend and their own shall bear no manner of proportion, to each other. Under these circumstances, should any dis

[ocr errors]

This last consideration would make against the expedience of dissenters in Ireland, entering into any partnership with the government for the support of their religion. It does not seem a mean well adapted for improving their morals, exciting their zeal, or encreasing their respect for the teachers of christianity. If it has not this tendency, it cannot be a good measure; if it has an opposite effect, it ought to be deprecated as a insidious dangerous auxiliary, an ally of the religion of Jesus.


To the Proprietors of the Belfast Magazine.



A SUBJECT that has employed the pens of so many able politicians, might seem to be exhausted, or at least to leave nothing for observation to those of an humbler description; but every thing may be contemplated in a variety of aspects, and a new point of view may present circumstances which have escaped the notice of former examiners. To collect remarks of this nature is one office of a periodical miscellany; and as what the writer has here to propose is intended in truth and sincerity to benefit society, it is hoped its publication in the magazine will not be thought altogether superfluous.

Fiction now seems to reign trium

phant: and our statesmen to surpass in it the most extravagant flights of the poets. We have been led by insensible degrees to believe in the fiction, that bits of paper are guineas; we have been compelled to swallow the fiction, that a great silver seal is king of these realms, and are made to obey acts passed by his most ponderous majesty; what are we to expect next? or rather what are we not to expect? when the chief of the opposition tells us, that to do away fiction would be to abolish law itself." And the highest legal authority of the ministerial party asserts, in the most solemn manner, which place and circumstances can constitute, that invalidating the potency of fiction, "might affect the course of judicial administration, and even the private property of every man in the house of fords," and of course of every man in the kingdom.

not be long, but of the termination of fiction-law and paper-guineas, alas! there is no prospect.

Besides the metals which are commonly used for money, a variety of other articles have been, and are still used in various parts of the world: Iron and leather have been applied to this purpose formerly, even in Europe, and in Africa masses of salt of four or five pounds weight, and a particular species of shells, pass current in the dealings of the people; even the American savages have some sort of circulating medium to assist their traffick; which shews, that whatever was the expence to society of the material employed for money, it was found to amply repay this by the various benefits it afforded to commerce, or the original, and more simple mode of dealing, by barter, would not have been laid aside for it universally, in all nations, as if by common consent.

The invention of bills of exchange, which is generally supposed have originated in Italy, is not of any remote antiquity: Bank-notes, and private notes of hand, soon followed; but paper securities of this description were not used as we use them at present (speaking according to common information), before the period of the American war. The distinction between the two modes of using paper securities, here alluded to, does not seem to have been noticed as much as it deserved in the writings on this subject; and it is the more important to mark it accurately, as the one is very beneficial to society, and the other extremely the reverse, and much of the sophistry by which that which is injurious has been upheld, has originated from confounding the two together, and calling them by one appellation.

Bank-notes were originally used as

At these astonishing assertions, we humble plain matter-of-fact-men can only look up and wonder, that such declarations should be made by such great and sapient authorities, in favour of a parcel of tales, which to our unsublimed imaginations, seem little superior to those of the nursery, where infantine feigners make-believe that scraps of earthenware are the well furnished dishes of a sumptuous entertainment; while the higher powers of the place, their nurses, impose them the soul subduing fiction, that some grim portrait a century old, is the true raw-head and bloodybones, and will actually come down from his frame, when called on, to enforce their decrees. It must be owned however, that a seal king is perfectly homogeneous, and matches well with fiction-law, and paperguincas: Would to God their duration was to be the same also! The reign of king Argent the first can


« PreviousContinue »